Last night, TheHusband and I sat glued to the television from 5PM forward to watch and wait for the election results. It was nail biting, in the beginning, as states with earliest closing times (and seemingly, the smaller electoral votes) started pushing numbers towards Romney, while the big states we knew would go to the President, like California, would not give results until much later. Then there is the, “What the fuck is happening in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio” panic as we waited for those polls to close and the polls to be tallied.
(As of 1AM, Florida still had not been called even though our brethren on the west coast were locked in. I fear Florida may still be counting this very minute!)
It was significantly after 8PM before we realized we had not had dinner, and food was ordered in. Pizza for him, sub (without cheese) for me. By the time we had fallen asleep, after pinky swears were given the results would not change when I woke up like the 2000 race, Mr. Romney had only just given his concession speech. It was 1AM. We were struggling to stay awake to hear the President’s victory speech, yet we ended up falling asleep with the lights on, TV blaring and I woke a few hours later to the dulcet tones of Rachel Maddow giving her analysis. It was after 3AM.
This morning when I woke up, the sun was shining and my vagina was still safe and it was a most glorious day. We had our first openly gay female senator, Tammy Baldwin, now in the upper chambers; The rape apologists, Akin and Mourdock, were both kicked to the curb; Elizabeth Warren is now in also in the upper chambers; same sex marriages is now legal in several more states. We are making small, but poignant and thoughtful steps, to get our country moving forward.
We will not be ripped back to 1954 or pre-1919.
This morning, however, I was dismayed to see commentary across the Twitters from various politicos/pundits in .uk and .eu espousing their opinions on America’s results. Fair enough, we’re fair game to that; $deity knows Americans love to twist the royals’ noses ever now and then. But what these commentators seemingly forget or are ignoring is that we’re fighting for the very things they take for granted, like socialized health care, education reform, and sexual equality. All they wanted to talk about is how they were “not for Romney” or “against Obama.” I’ve seen several who commented on the failure of “true leftism” since our policies and politics of what we refer to the left were not close to the European ideal. Don’t you think we know that already? Do you think we’re blind? If you want to compare specific policies, then sure, go ahead. But don’t preach about the general terribleness of US politics from your golden tower of (mostly) free national health care and nearly-free education. You don’t sound like you’re being constructive, you sound like an elitest asshole and terribly uninformed.
Do not mistake these steps we made last night as being insignificant or careless. Change is hard, even for a young country as ourselves. And I think as often as I forget how small some countries are, some forget how big the United States is, geographically, therefore how difficult it is to make everyone happy. My current favorite bit of trivia is England (so no Wales, Scotland, N. Ireland) is geographically half the size of Michigan. Imagine taking 50 Englands and getting them to agree on anything, for any specific amount of time, on any given topic. Can you then at least not understand how much of last night was definitely progress and less like a standoff?
I will end on this: The President is not perfect, and I’m not here extolling his virtues since there are some of his policies I do not agree on, but he is our President. He has put forth and started the beginning of change that will move this country forward and progressively. If you don’t like something about a policy, the government, or something in your community: Be the change. If you’re not in the US, then volunteer your work, time, or money to an organization that will change or move this country in the direction you think it should go in.
Get off your ass and do something.
P.S. The women are winning!
Elections 2012: Together, united